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Published 12:47 IST, December 22nd 2023

Thane police seize whale vomit worth Rs 3 crore. Here's why it's called floating gold

Whale vomit, also known as ambergris, is a substance produced by the sperm whale (and some other species of whales) in their digestive system.

Reported by: Digital Desk
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Ambergris is formed when a substance irritates the whale's stomach, and the whale produces a fatty material to coat and protect its digestive tract. | Image: Unsplash
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Thane: The police in Thane city have arrested two persons after recovering ambergris or whale vomit worth about Rs 3 crore, an official said on Friday. Ambergris, created by the bile duct of the sperm whale, is often called “floating gold” due to the immense price. It fetches in the international markets for its use in luxury perfumes.

What are ambergris or whale vomits?

Whale vomit, also known as ambergris, is a substance produced by the sperm whale (and some other species of whales) in their digestive system. It is a waxy, greyish substance with a unique and complex odour. Ambergris is formed when a substance irritates the whale's stomach, and the whale produces a fatty material to coat and protect its digestive tract. Over time, this substance may solidify and be expelled by the whale, either through vomit or as part of its faeces.

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What Thane police said

Senior inspector Kirankumar Kabadi of Wagle Estate police station said they had received inputs that two persons would be arriving near a hotel in their jurisdiction to sell some smuggled goods. The police intercepted two men after they reached the place, carrying a sack. A search revealed that the duo from neighbouring coastal Raigad district was carrying ambergris worth nearly Rs 3 crore.

The police have registered a case against the two under the Indian Penal Code and the Wild Life (Protection) Act, he added.

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The sperm whale is protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and it is illegal to sell, transfer, possess or trade in ambergris in India.

12:39 IST, December 22nd 2023